Makueni County Assembly Committee on Health Services has decried the lack of a public cemetery and a dump site in Emali town.
While tabling a report before the House on the absence of a cemetery in Emali, the committee chairperson John Kilonzo who is also the Member of County Assembly (MCA) for Masongaleni said the absence of the cemetery and a dump site despite the dense and rapidly growing population in the town was a health hazard and called on the Department of Health to establish the two sites soon as possible.
Kilonzo said investigations done by the committee revealed there existed a 10 acre piece of land for a cemetery situated one kilometer from the town under the defunct county council but was not secured and therefore was invaded by residents who currently do farming on the land.
“Currently the land has no structured management and those who wish to bury their dead seek clearance from the village manager,” he said.
The MCA blamed the Department of Health for laxity in pursuing the matter noting that despite a baseline survey by the department in February that there was no cemetery in Emali, the department failed to factor in funds for the purchase of the land in the 2015/2016 financial budget.
“From the investigations it seems that there are no immediate plans to establish a cemetery in Emali and as a committee we recommend that the Department of Health should liaise with the Department of Lands to use the kitty of Sh25M set aside for purchase of land and establish a cemetery in the town as soon as possible,” said MCA Kilonzo.
However in a statement written and forwarded to the Health Committee, Health Executive Dr. Andrew Mulwa said his department was currently doing a baseline survey to establish the location of cemetery sites in the county and promised to bring the matter to a speedy end.
Dr. Mulwa said his officers visited the alleged cemetery site in January 2015 and were shown the 10 acre piece of land that had been grabbed.
“The were fresh graves but the land had also been cultivated, “he said.
The Health Executive disclosed that the department was following up the matter with relevant departments to establish whether indeed the disputed land is a public cemetery.
“If the land is a public cemetery due process will be followed to repossess the land if not we shall acquire one,” said Dr. Mulwa.
On the issue of dump site the Health Executive said his department will also initiate a process to acquire one as soon as possible.
The lack of those two sites is Emali is also replicated in other major towns in the county. Wote which is the county headquarters not only lacks a cemetery and a dump site but also a sewerage system and it would be of great importance that as the department of health seeks to address the issues in Emali town other towns should also be put into consideration.